Global Fund Taps Former HHS Sec., Former President Of Botswana To Lead External Investigation Of Its Financial Controls

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Tuesday named former HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt and former President of Botswana Festus Mogae to co-chair “an external review of its financial systems, amid heightened scrutiny from donors over misuse of some grants and a potential funding reduction from the U.S.,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

The pair is now tasked with selecting a panel that over the next few months will probe the Global Fund’s “mechanisms for disbursements of grant money, potentially recommending improvements,” the newspaper writes, adding that the panel’s announcement comes as Congress is considering significant cuts to the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund for fiscal 2011.

The article describes how internal investigations by the Global Fund Inspector General uncovered the misuse of Global Fund grants in several countries; the decision by Germany, a major donor to the organization, to freeze funds in response; and the actions the Global Fund has taken in recent months to ramp up its anti-corruption efforts (McKay, 3/15).

“The review is part of a broader set of measures that continue to be implemented to strengthen the Global Fund’s financial safeguards,” according to a Global Fund press release. “[T]he independent review panel will report to the Board of the Global Fund,” and its findings will be made public, the release notes (3/15).

“The appointment of this panel is part of the Global Fund commitment to ensuring our financial controls are the most robust possible, and that donor investments go directly to fighting AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis,” Global Fund Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine said, according to the Global Fund press release. “Sound financial controls and anti-corruption protections are essential elements in our continued ability to save millions of lives, and to facilitating social and economic development in the more than 140 countries we support,” he added (3/15).

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